Next up, on the blog tour of The Road to Cromer Pier is an author Q&A with Martin Gore. First up, here’s all you need to know about the book. Enjoy!
about the book
Title: The Road from Cromer Pier
Author: Martin Gore
Genre: Family Saga
Series/Standalone:Standalone Sequel to The Road to Cromer Pier
Estimated page count: 300
Formats available: Paperback and eBook. Available on Kindle Unlimited
Publisher: nielsen (30 Jun. 2021)
Tour organised by: Rachel’s Random Resources
It’s ten years on from The Road to Cromer Pier, and Summertime Special Show Director Karen Wells has two potential headliners, but both have issues. Dare she take the risk? And Karen herself is at a crossroads. Will her mother Janet ever retire and allow her to run the pier theatre?
Meanwhile Janet’s nemesis, businessman Lionel Pemrose still has designs on the pier theatre, but he is facing growing financial problems. Bank manager Peter Hodson is haunted by a past indiscretion, and calls in recently widowed turnaround expert Tom Stanley. Can he keep the indiscretion a secret?
Tom is bereaved and has recently been made redundant from his own firm. He is too young to retire, and after years of long hours, suddenly finds himself unemployed. He pours his energies into the assignment, which could be his last hurrah.
Old enmities, loyalties and past mistakes surface as the future of the pier theatre is once again under threat, and those involved must deal with unresolved issues in their lives.
q&a with Martin gore
Family Saga / Contemporary historical fiction/ Holiday fiction.
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I’m a 64-year-old man living in East Yorkshire. I semi-retired at 57 and created a second career as a non-executive director, but with time to travel and to write. Originally from Coventry I lived in Kent for eight years, before moving north, where we’ve been since 1993.
I’m a keen Coventry City supporter, play a pretty lousy game of golf, and love cricket. My father was from Norwich, and insisted that we went to Cromer every year. No car, so me and my three brothers were put on a coach each summer for seven hours. Quite a lot of Paul Warren’s character in the first book is drawn from my childhood experiences. Bloomingdales bed & breakfast is actually Western House holiday flats on the seafront.
I’m been married to my wife Sandra for 41 years, and have two children and four grandchildren. We share an interest in performing arts, as my daughter created a successful community choir in Leeds.
What inspired you to start writing?
When I was nine years old, I told my mother that as I liked composition and drama, I wanted to be a Playwright. She suggested that I’d better work hard and get a proper job, so I did. My love of writing was rekindled when I began writing pantomimes for Walkington Pantomime Players in 2010, and I have now written eight. My debut play, He’s Behind You, was performed in 2016, and is now published on line.
Both Pen Pals and The Road to Cromer Pier were originally plays, now converted to novels. The latest version of the plays are also available to perform. The Road from Cromer Pier is the first that I’ve written as a novel only, so I moved from ‘planster’ to ‘pantster’.
How many books have you written and published?
I’ve now written three, which is three more than I ever thought I’d write! Pen Pals was published in 2016, and The Road to Cromer Pier in 2019. I never intended to write a sequel to it, as I dislike authors who leave cliff hangers, but I had such lovely comments about the characters in the first book, and I decided that the characters still had a lot of unfinished business. The Road from Cromer Pier takes place in 2019, ten years on from the original.
Which book, out of all the books you have written, is your favourite and why?
Much as I love Cromer, it would have to be my first novel, Pen Pals. While it’s a really heart-warming love story of family and personal loyalties, it also explains how we gave away our world beating manufacturing base through inept class ridden management and luddite trade unions, which to me is the root cause of the current austerity. It’s really written from my own experiences in the car industry in Coventry in the seventies, and it’s a history we need to remember.
The Cromer Pier books are about a real place of course, so the interaction with Cromer Pier Theatre who have been so supportive, and the reaction of local people and visitors to the first book, has just blown me away. They seem to like the characters, and the references to some real places, and some that are renamed.
It’s a tough call but Pen Pals tells a story which needs telling, but in a very human way. I’d like to see it as required reading in our secondary schools, before the message gets lost.
How do you choose the names of your characters?
Tricky things names. I once had to change a character’s name from Jim as I’d already got a Jim elsewhere, and I have quite a lot of characters in my books, so I need to be very careful. A schoolboy error you learn from. Find and Replace on Word comes in very handy!
The Murgatroyd name in Pen Pals came out of the need for a strong northern name, and I spotted the name on a fish and chip shop in Leeds. The bank manager Peter Hodson in the Pier books comes from the first bed and breakfast we stayed in, Hodsons in East Runton. It was the village filling station too, but it closed long ago.
For the main baddie name in The Road to Cromer Pier I was so concerned that I might inadvertently pick a name that was the same as a local resident that I went for quite an obscure name to hedge my bets. If there is a Lionel Pemrose out there, I apologise!
Which of your characters would you want to be stranded on an island with, and why?
Lauren Evans. A Welsh soprano with a delicious sense of humour. Music is important to me, so having Lauren there would be essential.
Who is your favourite author and which of their books is your favourite, and why?
I tend to read biographies mainly, but in fiction I always liked Arthur Hailey, as his books are so well researched. More recently Nelson De Mille and Robert Goddard. I liked Archers older work too, particularly Kane and Abel, which is the closest in genre to my own writing.
I like to read biographies featuring common events from different perspectives, for example I read Colin Powell’s and Norman Schwarzkopf’s biographies virtually back-to-back. Business biographies about people like Henry Ford and Michael Eisner give you remarkable insights into the people behind the PR story.
What is the first thing you can remember writing?
Gosh that’s going back! I was always keen on composition at school, but my handwriting was so bad I struggled throughout my school life. In the end I gave up and wrote everything in capital letters. My wife says she can’t even read that! Thank goodness for word processors.
I do recall studying the Jack Schaeffer book, Shane, for O level, and having to write a piece modelled on a segment from that. It got high praise from my classmates, which meant a lot as someone who always struggled to fit in.
What other jobs have you done other than being an author?
Well, I started my career as a programme seller at Coventry City, my favourite team! But my professional career was as an accountant. I started as an office junior at Jaguar in 1973, and retired as Director of Corporate Services with Humberside Probation in 2015. More recently I finished a five-year term as a board member with my local NHS Trust, and I’m still a board member of two housing associations. As a council house kid, I have a passionate belief in the value of social housing, and I still try to make a difference.
If you could get in a time machine and had one chance to travel, where would you go? (Backwards or forwards!)
I guess I’d go back to 1969, and land on the moon with Neil Armstrong. A truly out of this world experience that I grew up with. I remember I had an Airfix lunar module!
If you could have one conversation with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I’d love to meet Martin Sheen the actor, because I’m a huge West Wing fan, and I love his work. Perhaps Aaron Sorkin as the writer too.
What are your favourite things to do?
We love music and particular musical theatre, so we go to many shows and concerts. We love to travel, be it in the UK or abroad. Sadly, both have been curtailed by the pandemic, although we’ve just recently bought an old motorhome and there is much of our beautiful country we haven’t yet seen. I’ve used some locations I’ve been to in the books. In Pen Pals I used Florence, and the latest book features Lake Como, I place I particularly loved.
I rediscovered Amdram in 2001, and I’ve been heavily involved ever since. I played characters such as the Genie in Aladdin, and a giant Gingerbread Man in Hansel & Gretel. I have also written eight pantomimes in all. Hearing people laugh at what you’ve written is the best feeling.
What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you?
When I was a non-executive director in my local NHS Trust, I sang in the choir. We auditioned on Britain’s Got Talent in Birmingham and got four yesses from Simon Cowell and the gang. I high fived Ant as we left the stage!
From that I founded the Song for Hull project, initially as part of Hull’s City of Culture year. It gives kids from the most deprived areas of the city the chance to sing on stage in a professionally staged concert, but with the express purpose of building their aspirations, and creating links with NHS jobs at all levels. The latest show took place in February 2020 in the magnificent Bonus Arena, with four hundred kids on stage and an audience of over eleven hundred.
If you could give your younger writing self any advice what would it be?
Start writing sooner. My career was all consuming and dominated my life for too long. You need to have a work life balance, but didn’t realise that until far too late. I also wish I’d pushed myself into Amdram at school, but I always lacked self-confidence, and had a real fear of being laughed at.
And finally, name one book you think everyone should read?!
I’m going to say Pen Pals of course, because it tells the story of how we became a divided country with widespread poverty, but in a very heart warming and readable family saga. I worry that the messages of past mistakes get lost with time, and the younger generation will not hear things as they really were.
follow the tour
Thanks to Rachel for inviting me on to the tour and to Martin for chatting with us.
If you have any questions or comments for Martin then make sure you get in touch.
Have a wonderful day!